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[APD] Gravel and clay substrates

There's a product called isolite that comes in very small (1-2mm) size, no 
sharp edges, very regular, etc. - I've used it for terrestrial plants and it 
has worked great - However, if you're mixing this with another type/size of 
gravel/material, it might stratify out...  Here's the Krib site w/ a 
discussion about using it:


Ray of First Ray's Orchids sells a fired clay pellet (leca) that comes in a 
fairly small size too - I've used it for a different application (semi-hydro 
growing) - but don't see why it shouldn't work.  Here's his web site:  


Both companies (I'm NOT affiliated with either) have terrific customer 
service and are VERY helpful.

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> than "Re: Contents of Aquatic-Plants digest..."
> Today's Topics:
>    1. Duckweed (Jennifer Marshall)
>    2. Ballast for one T8 bulb?  (Carlos Sanchez)
>    3. Re: Gw/NH4 (Paul Krombholz)
>    4. Re:Duckweed (Paul Krombholz)
>    5. RE: "dwarf" val (John Stark)
>    6. RE: Plantlets on  Microsorum pteropus 'Windel?v' ( 	bolbitis)
>       (David Whittaker)
>    7. RE: 10,000K lights -- or - tannin bomb, o tannin bomb
>       (Seweryn Bialasiewicz)
>    8. Re: IceCap ballasts hype or not?--All the claims are true,
>       sort of (S. Hieber)
>    9. gravel sizes and planting schemes. 
>       (Dirk_Matthys at toyota-europe.com)
>   10. Re: Duckweed (S. Hieber)
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Message: 1
> Date: Wed, 17 Sep 2003 22:56:28 -0500
> From: "Jennifer Marshall" <zephyr18 at ev1_net>
> Subject: [APD] Duckweed
> To: <Aquatic-Plants at actwin_com>
> Will somebody please please please give me suggestions for ridding my tank of 
> duckweed? I got it from a bunch of plants from my LFS, and it is driving me 
> crazy!
> Thanks in advance,
> Jennifer in Austin
> ------------------------------
> Message: 2
> Date: Thu, 18 Sep 2003 00:00:12 -0400
> From: "Carlos Sanchez" <tsunamicarlos at hotmail_com>
> Subject: [APD] Ballast for one T8 bulb? 
> To: aquatic-plants at actwin_com
> Hello,
>      I tried the glo-mat, and it didn't work period. I was later told that 
> since the 1x30w version
> of the glo-mat is magnetic, that it couldn't fire t8 bulbs... which leads me 
> to my second question.
> I went to two Home Depots today and found nothing meant specifically for one 
> T8 30w/3ft bulb. I have
> been searching online, and all I can find is the 50$ Ultralux Ballast. Does 
> anyone use or know of a
> ballast that I could use for 30w T8 Triton? Any advice would be greatly 
> appreciated!
> Thank you,
> Carlos
> _________________________________________________________________
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> ------------------------------
> Message: 3
> Date: Wed, 17 Sep 2003 23:19:22 -0500
> From: Paul Krombholz <krombhol at teclink_net>
> Subject: [APD] Re: Gw/NH4
> To: aquatic-plants at actwin_com
> >Can you give us a few examples of those nutrients?
> >Scott H.
> >--- Paul Krombholz <krombhol at teclink_net> wrote:
> >
> >  > Deficiencies in
> >  > nutrients not commonly limiting in nature can cause much
> >  > more damage.
> Calcium deficiency can wreck a plant pretty quickly.  It kills the 
> meristematic (growth) regions.  Potassium deficiency  and magnesium 
> deficiency cause the older leaves to die off.   Boron deficiency is 
> similar to calcium deficiency---the meristematic regions die.   
> N and P deficiencies have to last a lot longer and become a lot more 
> severe before any parts of the plant die.   The plants basically stop 
> growing, but don't get damaged so much as delayed.  They may be able 
> to flower and produce some seed even though they are much smaller 
> than they could be. 
> _______________________
> -- 
> Paul Krombholz in sunny central Mississippi
> ------------------------------
> Message: 4
> Date: Wed, 17 Sep 2003 23:30:13 -0500
> From: Paul Krombholz <krombhol at teclink_net>
> Subject: [APD] Re:Duckweed
> To: aquatic-plants at actwin_com
> >Will somebody please please please give me suggestions for ridding 
> >my tank of duckweed? I got it from a bunch of plants from my LFS, 
> >and it is driving me crazy!
> >Thanks in advance,
> >Jennifer in Austin
> Ducks eat it, so----.  (Just kidding!)  Goldfish eat it, but if you 
> don't want to go that route, you have to clean it out by hand.  This 
> involves dipping out water with a bowl and pouring it through a fish 
> net to capture the duckweed.  You have to do this frequently.  Each 
> time you try to get all you can see.  The next day, you get what you 
> missed.  Wait a few days and do it again to get the little fragments 
> that have grown big enough to see or the little submerged plants that 
> have managed to work their way back to the surface.  You have to keep 
> after it until you get the last bit and never give it time multiply. 
> It is an advantage that it is a floating plant.
> -- 
> Paul Krombholz
> ------------------------------
> Message: 5
> Date: Wed, 17 Sep 2003 22:13:51 -0700
> From: "John Stark" <john at starkreality_net>
> Subject: RE: [APD] "dwarf" val
> To: <ewahlig at earthlink_net>,	"'aquatic plants digest'"
> 	<aquatic-plants at actwin_com>
> In defense of Albany Aquarium - they do indeed provide species name,
> full grown size, as well as preferred water conditions (temp, hardness,
> pH).  They generally have nice plants.  I just failed to take down this
> information when I bought the plant - much to my chagrin.
> ....john
> John Stark
> Director of Marketing, Jupiter Systems
> -----Original Message-----
> From: aquatic-plants-bounces at actwin_com
> [mailto:aquatic-plants-bounces at actwin_com] On Behalf Of Eric Wahlig
> Sent: Wednesday, September 17, 2003 8:10 AM
> To: john at starkreality_net, aquatic plants digest
> Subject: RE: [APD] "dwarf" val
> The first problem is that "dwarf" is simply a sales pitch. I don't want
> "dwarf" anything. I want the species name so I can do some research on
> it.
> Unfortunately, most dealers can't give you a species name because they
> bought it as "dwarf" whatever and even the wholesalers don't know what
> it
> is really. In my opinion this is false advertising, but alas, it
> probably
> is a dwarf compared to another species of the same genera. My suggestion
> on
> anything "dwarf" is that if you can't positively ID it then buy some if
> you
> want, try it, and accept the loss if it doesn't work out.
> As far as trimming the leaves: Some people have recommended cutting them
> at
> the surface but I have never had much luck with this method. The leaves
> decay from the cut ends and look bad when I try this. The other method,
> which is much more labor intensive, is to reach down to the base of the
> longest leaves and pluck them one by one. I generally just rip it out
> and
> either give it away or throw it away.   
> --- Eric
> >             I am not sure what the species of vallisneria I have in my
> > tank (it could be spiralis, but I am not seeing the red markings
> > described at Tropica)- but the bunch was purchased at Albany Aquarium
> > here in the SF Bay Area - a very nice store for plants.  When
> purchased,
> > though, it was described as a dwarf species that should not grow to
> more
> > than 15-30cm long (straight, light green leaves). and indeed this was
> > true for about 6 months as it propagated all over my small tank.  But,
> > this dwarf val has now put out leaves that are close to 1m in length
> and
> > is still growing.  In a 30g XT tank, this covers a lot of the top of
> the
> > tank - much to the dismay of my Rotala Macrandra.
> >  
> > My question are:  How can a dwarf form suddenly decide to grow like
> > crazy?  And can one trim the leaves to at least stand straight up
> > without fear of the entire leaf/plant dying?  Or, is it time to give
> > away several pounds of plant material?
> >  
> > John Stark
> _______________________________________________
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> ------------------------------
> Message: 6
> Date: Thu, 18 Sep 2003 02:49:17 -0400
> From: David Whittaker <dwhitt at sympatico_ca>
> Subject: [APD] RE: Plantlets on  Microsorum pteropus 'Windel?v' (
> 	bolbitis)
> To: aquatic-plants at actwin_com
> Eric Wahlig says that he is having problems getting his Bolbitis
> heudelotti (of one year) to grow.
> As a recent poster has responded, it takes a while for Bolbitis to
> acclimatize. I made several attempts, only to have the plants blacken
> with algae and slowly wither in a large, hot, bright tank. Eventually I
> transferred a sprig to another cooler, low light tank. Once it became
> established, it took off. Now it doubles in size every two to three
> months. Presently it entirely fills a 72 gallon aquarium. I'll describe
> the setup.
> 72 gallon tank (36"L x 18"W x 24"H)
> no substrate
> ph 6.8
> KH 2 - 3
> temp 24C - 25C
> DIY CO2 fed into a Hagen Fluval 4
> 0.8 watts/gal cheap fluorescent lighting (1 daylight, 1 CW)
> infrequent water changes
> 1 SAE
> 1 bristlenose
> 6 small fish (2 inches or less)
> The tank is probably phosphate limited. There are 50 grams of dolomite
> sprinkled on the bottom of the tank to maintain pH. PMDD is added
> frequently.
> The Bolbitis coexists with anubias bartieri v. nana, microsorum pteropus
> "windelov", java moss, and sagittaria. All plants do reasonably well.
> The leaves are bright green, and the tank is virtually free of algae.
> I am guessing that the good growth is due to low light, cool
> temperature, high nitrate, CO2, and good water circulation. I got lucky.
> ------------------------------
> Message: 7
> Date: Thu, 18 Sep 2003 08:08:48 +0000
> From: "Seweryn Bialasiewicz" <s_bialasiewicz at hotmail_com>
> Subject: RE: [APD] 10,000K lights -- or - tannin bomb, o tannin bomb
> To: aquatic-plants at actwin_com
> I'll be puting some in soon, although I am waiting for a good pair to show 
> up. Not very good stock in my area right now, altough I snared a pair of A. 
> cacatuoidies juviniles that hopefully will come out nice :) And a cute 
> little borneo sucker.
> -Seweryn
> >Seweryn, you higher light guys rock! Are the blue rams on order yet? Be a
> >nice addition to the corys. If you get heavy-handed with the "tea" you're
> >throwing in the tank, maybe a couple of 20K-K's would do nicely. I'm
> >kidding:-)
> >Aren't I?
> >
> >Bill
> >
> _________________________________________________________________
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> ------------------------------
> Message: 8
> Date: Thu, 18 Sep 2003 04:15:58 -0700 (PDT)
> From: "S. Hieber" <shieber at yahoo_com>
> Subject: Re: [APD] IceCap ballasts hype or not?--All the claims are
> 	true,	sort of
> To: aquatic plants digest <aquatic-plants at actwin_com>
> Well, mainly I unplugged them because I wanted more light
> not less.  That was reason enough.  But truthfully, there
> were other reasons, too.
> IceCap told me they would work with some particular models
> of bulbs I was interested in trying out.  These were Normal
> Output bulbs (NOs) that IceCap said would work fine on
> their ballast but it burned them out in just a few weeks. 
> IceCap, after talking with me, tested the bulbs and
> confirmed that the ballast burned out the bulbs in just a
> couple weeks.  That's how I found out that they work with
> NOs by overdriving them. 
> The NOs were not my ultimate intended use for the IceCap
> ballast, but this also led me to discover that IceCaps
> underdrive VHOs, which were my ultimate intended use.  It
> was disappointing to find out I had paid a lot of money for
> a ballast that 'works with VHOS' but the ballast only runs
> a 110 watt bulb at 65 watts  -- that's okay if you want
> your bulbs to last longer than normal but not very good if
> the reason you went with VHOs was fit more light under the
> hood).  
> Not a technical reason but part of the equation for me was
> the fact that IceCap was so secretive, imo, about giving
> out any performance data, such as as the wattage at which
> it drives NOs, VHOs, PCs.  
> Along the way I found out about PCs and how well the
> Fulhams performed and how easy it was to deal with Fulham
> and AHS;  after all that, I just didn't have much use for
> the IceCaps. Besides, how could I learn anyting if I didn't
> try diff things, diff brands?  
> I never had a reason to reinstall the IceCaps.  I'm
> thinking of putting them in the garage, which doubles as my
> woodworking shop -- I can always use more light there --
> and maybe use them to run some of the old bulbs in my stock
> pile in the basement -- mostly VHOs and NOs, since I don't
> find any need to replace PCs before they quit working.
> IceCaps work. As electronic ballasts go they are well
> constructed and the service is very good -- yes, one of
> mine died after a few months, but they fixed it quickly. 
> IceCap ballasts do what IceCap claims if you take the
> claims literally and carefully and don't read anything into
> them.
> There is nothing super or special about the IceCaps, imo,
> and there are better options for electronic ballasts.  The
> main benefit of IceCaps, imo, is that they underdrive VHOs.
>  That is not a useful feature for me -- well, in the
> garage, providing supplemental lighting, I might not mind
> that feature too much ;-) .
> Scott H.
> --- Jay Reeves <jreeves1 at mn_rr.com> wrote:
> >> Scott, I am curious, what was it about the Ice Caps that
> > caused you to pull the plug on them?  I can understand
> > advising someone to start with a much less expensive
> > Fulham,
> > but why unplug the Ice Cap, unless, like myself, you want
> > less light?
> __________________________________
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> ------------------------------
> Message: 9
> Date: Thu, 18 Sep 2003 13:22:40 +0200
> From: Dirk_Matthys at toyota-europe.com
> Subject: [APD] gravel sizes and planting schemes. 
> To: aquatic-plants at actwin_com
> Hi all,
> 1) Does anybody know a good website that has a lot planting schemes on
> them?
> Aquabotanic 's contest result shows some schemes but I am looking for a
> larger collection.
> There is a lot of sites with pictures , but most people do not take the
> effort generating some artwork showing the scheme.
> 2) Warning on gravel sizes: About 2 years ago I set up my 100 G with 2
> types of substrate: a bottom layer of something called "pond substrate",
> about 2 inch layer. They are fired clay pellets of 5 to 10 mm with very
> irregular and sharp edges. I mixed laterite and some "boomse klei" which is
> a local clay used to bake red construction bricks. The top layer was 1-3 mm
> washed gravel of about 1,5 inch .
> Result: the tank  ran succesfull for 1,5-2 years but I am about to replace
> the substrate. ( you know, the messy weekend with buckets and towels all
> over the place) reasoning:  The smaller gravel was sinking in between the
> large lighter fired clay. As a result the large fired clay pellets came to
> the top and rooted plants did not do very well, actually any rooted plant
> took a very long time to take hold and once they did take hold the root
> systems became massive but the plants stunted. I don't know exactly why ,
> but I think the rooted plants put enormous energy in developing roots on
> the search for richer spots. The large gravel must have caused too much
> oxygen ( heater cables ) which makes nutrients in the substrate less
> available.  My echinodorus hormani , paniculatus and uruguayensis shot
> enough leaves but the plants remained about 50%  stunted in size. The tank
> has 2,7 W/G light, CO2 , TMG fertiliser etc... Stem plants had no problem
> and also my hemianthus carpet did well since the root system held the light
> gravel up. After many cutting and replantings the top gravel layer almost
> completely dissapeared and overall plant growth declined except stems. The
> clay was so sharp and difficult to penetrate  since the the pellets kind of
> hooked into each other irregular shapes. I could not push fingers and for
> that matter also plants into it, but the pellets can be taken away one by
> one so easily.
> In order to keep the tank going I was stuck with stems only, anubias and
> ferns. But now I want to make this into a planted discus display ( first
> try after 20 years of fish keeping, i had bare bottom discus tanks , but
> not the stunning planted discus displays  ) And for such a tank I want less
> pruning work and larger plants , so rooted plants such as echinodorus,
> crypts and hygrophylas will take up more foorprint space then now . ( I
> will keep some carpets and stems and floaters too ). I bought fresh 1-3 mm
> neutrl gravel and this weekend time to set up again.
> Conclusion: I bought those fired clay pellets bedause they looked good and
> where cheaper than gravel. Biggest misstake: too coarse( up to 10 mm, 1 cm
> ) and too sharp, impossible to plant and smaller gravel falls through. So
> out of first hand: Keep your gravel sizes as advocated in this forum, the
> krib, etc.... It really is a problem if you have too coarse gravel. A tank
> should run longer than 2 years in my opinion, I had 12 before. ( I do love
> setting up tanks, except scooping out used gravel, what a mess.  YMMV.
> If anybody can add something to the effects I noticed on rooted plants,
> you're welcome to. ( or correct me if I am wrong )
> suisoman Dirk
> ------------------------------
> Message: 10
> Date: Thu, 18 Sep 2003 04:27:45 -0700 (PDT)
> From: "S. Hieber" <shieber at yahoo_com>
> Subject: Re: [APD] Duckweed
> To: Jennifer Marshall <zephyr18 at ev1_net>,	aquatic plants digest
> 	<aquatic-plants at actwin_com>
> Grows fast doesn't it ;-)
> Diligient skimming with a brine shrimp net works best, imo.
>  Regular nets are too coarse and although they seem to
> scoop up everything, they let little teeny tiny fragments
> through that "sprout up" in a day or two or three.  This
> has worked for me.  Get out as much as you can and repeat
> this each day until unnecessary.  A couple days or so ought
> to do it and after the first day the task is much much
> easier.
> Less Industrious Alternative: If the surface if clear of
> obstructions, try running a small powerhead so that the
> water stream runs into a fine net partly or nearly
> completly submerged.  You only need enough water current to
> get the duckweed moving.  An awful lot of the duckweed will
> collect in the net.  Empty the net every so often.  Tidy up
> with skiming manually, check corners, crevasses, etc. for
> any stealthy hold outs.
> Alsom, there's a zen to skimming duckweed.  Was on/Wax Off 
> Wax on/Wax off  ;-) .  If your too young to recognize that
> allusion, not to worry; wax really has nothing to do with
> duckweed.  
> Good luck, good fun,
> Scott H.
> --- Jennifer Marshall <zephyr18 at ev1_net> wrote:
> > Will somebody please please please give me suggestions
> > for ridding my tank of duckweed? I got it from a bunch of
> > plants from my LFS, and it is driving me crazy!
> > Thanks in advance,
> > Jennifer in Austin
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